I’m torn between wanting to see how terrible the new #TMNTmovie is, but not wanting to contribute to its box office and encourage a sequel.
— Ashley Christie (@Ashley_Christie) August 8, 2014
When I heard they were going to do a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action reboot I was nervous. When I found out Michael Bay was producing it I groaned. When it was announced Megan Fox was starring as April O’Neil I rolled my eyes. And when first images of the CGI monstrosities was released I, along with the rest of the internet, asked “What the fuck is that supposed to be?!”
I grew up with the Turtles. I remember getting up every morning to watch Donny, Mikey, Raph, and Leo battle Shredder, Bebop, and Rocksteady before school. I wanted to like Donatello best because I was all about purple, but my heart will forever belong to Michelangelo and his totally tubular ways.
I had the action figures and playsets, the lunchbox, the plates and cups, the pj’s, the bedsheets, the everything. I even had their autographs when I went to MGM studios and met them. Yes, I actually met them! Be jealous.
I go into any new Turtles adaptation with a pre-established love for these characters and vested interest in their outcome. And still, half way through the new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie I found myself completely and utterly bored.
The bad guy’s want to take over New York City? Whatevs.
The turtles have been kidnapped? I don’t care.
Splinter’s dying? Meh.
I wanted to like it, but everything about this movie is just … so … NO.
Let’s start with the story. In this movie the turtles and splinter were test subjects/ April’s pets in a lab run by daddy O’Neil and Eric Sacks (William Fichtner). One night, after an injection of alien mutagen, there’s a fire. April rescues her pets and frees them near a storm drain. They grow up and Splinter finds a ninjutsu book in sewer so he teaches himself and his sons how to be ninjas.
Now, they’re teenage turtles forbidden from going to the surface. April, who loves her yellow leather jacket, is a TV reporter with aspirations of being a serious news journalist. And Sacks, a former student of The Shredder, has plans of global domination.
I can get over the changes to turtle cannon. That’s to be expected. What upset me most was how the story was told. This wasn’t a movie about the turtles, it was about April O’Neil. It’s about her life, her pets, her investigation of the Foot Clan crimes, her finding out the truth about her dad’s death.
The turtles were a mere plot device for April. They were supporting characters in their own movie! They don’t even show up till a third of the way through the film.
Although, once they did show up I wished they’d go away. These things are terrifying. Six-feet-tall, really?! I don’t think that was necessary. No wonder they made the pretty girl the hero cause these creatures are scary and should be off screen as much as possible. These are CGI, meaning computer-generated, meaning the filmmakers could have made them look like anything. And they willingly chose this?
Also, they lacked any real personality. Donny was smart, Raph was mean, Mikey was a horny teenager, and Leo was … there, but that’s it. That’s all I got. They didn’t even really feel like teenagers (except Mikey).
But that was another problem throughout. There was no depth. Perhaps the reason I had such trouble being interested in the movie is because there was nothing in these characters for me to connect with and care about.
The movie itself looked fine. The action was ok. The performances were adequate. Will Arnett is there as April’s cameraman and their boss is Whoopi Goldberg for some inexplicable reason.
These heroes in a half shell are supposed to be about fun. The premise is slightly ridiculous and the best versions embrace that absurdity and run with it. This movie tries to take them seriously and it’s all wrong. They aren’t my teenage mutant ninja turtles. They’re just April O’Neil’s pet turtle mutant ninja teenagers.
Here’s a trailer for a much better looking documentary about Turtle Mania!